As the restrictions continue, we’re staying connected and continue to help and support Shrewsbury’s vulnerable.
All our clients who are sleeping rough, including those with pets, have been offered accommodation. We are delighted over 20 are safely housed at the Prince Rupert Hotel and over 60 people at other accommodation providers in the town. All are receiving support from a number of agencies including ourselves and Shropshire Council.
Our own volunteers who are self- isolating or shielding continue to provide care through regular phone calls to clients they know well, to provide a friendly chat, check on welfare and see if there is anything required through the continuing outreach service. Thanks to the Shrewsbury Food Hub, our team is distributing food parcels to ensure all continue to have access to food in these unprecedented times.
In addition, we are currently purchasing tablets/kindles to ensure clients remain connected and can easily access online activities during isolation.
Clients have been categorically told not to gather in the street, and generally they are keeping the 2m distance. However, some are struggling to adjust to this situation for a number of complex reasons and we encourage the public to support us by letting us know if they are concerned about anyone who appears to be sleeping rough by informing us either through social media, telephone or email.
“We strongly urge the public not to give money to those who may still be on the streets, as it is discouraging them from receiving critical help and support,” says Wendy Faulkner, Ark Manager. “Our services are still continuing despite the restrictions and it is important people realise we haven’t stopped operating, and we’ve adapted to the situation and changed the way in which we work .”
Behind the scenes, The Ark is one of the many organisations taking advantage of technology; a recent Trustee meeting was held by Zoom and Wendy holds regular online team meetings with staff and volunteers.
Karen Higgins, Ark Chair says the depth of service we’re still able to offer is incredible. “All credit has to be given to the Ark team, The Prince Rupert and Shropshire Council; in the space of a week, they have turned The Ark’s 5 days/week day centre with an outreach service into a 24/7 residential unit.”
As a reminder, for the safety of our staff and volunteers, and the wider public, The Ark Shop will remain closed until it is safe to open.
Due to sanitation reasons, we are unable to accept donated items at this time.
While The Ark is fortunate to have a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the time being, many other social care providers, such as aged care workers and community support workers are running low on stock.
“We strongly encourage any business or organisation which may have an excess of PPE to contact the Council’s PPE coordinator via firstname.lastname@example.org. It particularly needs gloves, aprons or goggles,” says Karen. “Council will then distribute to us and other social care providers, to ensure all our key workers who are providing support and care are properly protected.”
“Our staff and those at the Council, Prince Rupert and many many other social care key workers are incredibly brave, all of them. We cannot guarantee their safety, no organisation can at the moment and yet they are still there, managing to deliver care and support to vulnerable people in our community.”
Just as a reminder, our services are able to continue because of a partnership of a number of organisations. These include:
• Shropshire Council
• The Prince Rupert Hotel
• Shrewsbury Town Council
• Shrewsbury Police
• Our volunteers
• Our clients
• The Shrewsbury Food Hub
• Taybar Security
• Shrewsbury BID
A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS, HELPING US TO HELP THE VULNERALBE THROUGH THESE UNPRECIDENTED TIMES. STAY SAFE, KEEP YOUR 2M DISTANCE, STAY POSITIVE AND SMILE!